The Blue and White scrimmage is a nice idea—to showcase the team for the coming season to the fans—but it often degenerates into a sloppy game. The players are rusty, the walk-ons get more playing time than they will ever see again, and the final score is meaningless, but hey, it’s Villanova basketball.
This year’s iteration was much more sharply played than previous versions. The team leaders— James Bell, JayVaughn Pinkston, Ryan Arcidiacono, and Darrun Hilliard—all looked solid and in control, if not spectacular. Pinkston’s physicality and Arch’s handle stood out, as they did last year. Arcidiacono looked more comfortable in his second season manning the point.
That is good news for this team, because last year he often tried to do too much. If he can get some more weapons around him and recognize that he doesn’t have to do it all by himself, he could be in for a breakout year. Pinkston displayed a new willingness to take outside shots, which he has refused to take in the past. If he can pair some outside shooting with his driving and post abilities, he will be an even tougher cover for opposing defenses.
The real story with the scrimmage is watching how the year’s new crop of freshmen look during actual game play. Darryl Reynolds appears to be a solid big man, if a little undersized. He made a couple strong inside moves and blocked a shot with good weak side help defense. He looks to be more of an offensive threat than Daniel Ochefu.
Josh Hart looked nervous at times, which is natural, but not what you look for in a hoped-for future stud. He bricked a couple foul shots, looked intimidated with his dribble, and had a couple ugly turnovers.
Kris Jenkins presents some interesting potential. He is a stocky forward, but he has some guard skills. He knocked down a three, which is good news for a team that has lacked outside shooting for the last few seasons. Hopefully, he can develop into the three-and-D prototype that is so popular in the NBA—an athletic player who can lock down his man on defense and stretch the court on offense. His speed was a little lacking, so that might be a pipe dream, but we can hope. At this point in the season, anything is possible.